By Our Reporter
The National Theatre will not be demolished, according to Francis Peter Ojede, the Executive Director Uganda National Cultural Centre, a statutory body mandated to preserve, promote and popularize Uganda’s culture in Uganda and beyond.
He made the remarks while responding to rife media reports that the 50-year-old facility was set to be demolished to pave way for a mega complex housing a multi-million shopping mall, modern restaurants, bars, cinemas, state of the art auditoriums and an underground car parking, which had sparked widespread public outrage.
Speaking at a press conference held at National Theatre on Friday, Ojede reiterated that the building was only getting a facelift and will remain standing for many more years to come. He further revealed that preliminary renovations have already kicked off as they go through the process of procuring a contractor for the main renovations.
“The flat roof has continued to leak despite the regular repairs. The component of the asbestos above the stage is outlawed and is overdue for replacement. The chairs are breaking every other day despite the timely repairs. The restrooms are also in need of replacement, the sewage system can no longer accommodate the current huge number of traffic in the area.” He stated. “It is on this back ground that we embarked on this project to renovate the National Theatre building. We have already started on the renovations—the upper gardens, craft village gardens and the restaurant have so far been worked upon.”
“The National Theatre was listed by UNESCO as a heritage site, and we don’t have any intentions of destroying this facility. If we are to do any re-development, it is going to be in the other spaces and the main building will remain intact.” He added.
According to the renovation plans, the project which will be carried out in phases is expected to take 4-6 months. During this period, some of the already scheduled activities will be relocated to the parking yard, craft village and Nommo gallery.
The government is said to have allocated Ugx 3 Billion to the project.
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